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Stoke Gabriel Boating Association (SGBA) hosted their first Junior open on Sunday the 10th July at their brand new purpose built club house on the picturesque River Dart. Thirty four children took to the water in their Tera, Topper and Feva dinghies for some competitive racing off Stoke Gabriel followed by a delicious barbecue and prize giving.

The event was organised by Charles and Rebecca Gillmore from SGBA and as an open invitation to the South West Youth Sailing Academies (SWYSA) Sailors. Many of the youngsters have recently completed an intensive course of winter training and were ready to practice their new skills which was evident with those sailors who had trained throughout the winter dominating the front half of the fleet. For many it was their first taste of competitive racing and the race officer and his team provided a great introduction for the sailors with lots of guidance to some of the novice sailors. Charles Gillmore said “Its great to see the progress the children have made with their winter training and you can see how it will benefit many of the other young sailors here today who have already signed up for next winters training”.

The wind built to a gusty 22 knots under a blue sky and provided lots of excitement for the Feva crews planing away from the windward mark kites flying all under the close watch of the safety boat team led by Andrew Morrell. Competition at the front of the Tera fleet was very close with National squad sailors Freddy Gillmore and Will James battling for the first place against Albert Gillmore in his Pro rigged Tera.
The eight Topper dinghies also had some competitive racing with Toby Bloomfield leading the fleet closely followed by twins Zac and Luca in their 4.2 rigged Toppers. Robin and Ethan in their RS Feva clinched victory ahead of Max and Mark by only one point in the last race. Nick James from SWYSA commented that “having invitations from local clubs such as here at this beautiful spot, enables the sailors to have some great races against lots of boats of the same class and lots of fun afterwards with friends”, “Its really good to see clubs working together for the benefit of the next generation of sailors”

Some of the sailors retired early from the last race as the temptation of the barbecue on the beach proved to much for them. A delicious spread was prepared by the parents to be followed by the prize giving with some fantastic prizes supplied by RS Sailing and SGBA. Albert Gillmore won the Pro fleet prize, Will James was first in the Sport fleet and Mark Ripley came first in his Topper. The overall handicap race was won by William James in his Tera Sport “Free Will”.

All the sailors are now looking forward to their summer regattas with a Tera open being held at Dartmouth during Dartmouth’s Royal Regatta and many have already signed up for the next winters training with SWYSA.